How can we plan for our old age when we don’t believe in it?
The world has gone mad we tell ourselves. We blew our March Madness bracket already, The Donald is scaring us, refugees are certainly coming to our shores next,
Zika is frightening, the seas are rising, How can you start seriously saving money for your old age? You might be dead from a dirty bomb by then.
So it’s easy to put off saving for the impossibly distant future when you will be feeble and no longer able to work, or worse, no longer able to think clearly.
This takes enormous discipline or a lot of social pressure. Which currently, we do not have. There is social pressure to be fit, to eat right, to be kind, and to send your kids to college but there is zero social pressure to plan for your care as an older person. Somehow we all thought we could work or would want to work, forever.
Looking at our 80+ parents we see they want to sit and relax, rightfully, but somebody needs to pick up the tab. If you didn’t plan well, who is going to care for you? And if you lose your executive function and can’t manage your own daily care, who will assist with showers, shopping and medical care?
Is it really fair to end up ailing and without means at the end? What if you don’t have a daughter? Or a kindly son? What if the family is struggling financially? Will someone step up and help, or will you rattle around in your home until you fall or get a terrible kidney infection, or start drinking because you are lonely?
I know of one woman who lived alone and drank 1.5 bottles of champagne daily till her family took her in. Never had another drop after that. She likely would have fallen if left on her own. Yet she didn’t see herself as a dependent and resents losing her independence.
Do yourself a favor and do your family a favor. Have a plan for your 80s and 90s at least, and hopefully your 70s.
If the ocean doesn’t rise, the Donald doesn’t mess us up, your Bball team wins, Zika goes dormant, and the refugees are absorbed nicely, you will have great security at a time when you most need support.